Page last updated at 09:46 GMT, Thursday, 27 March 2008

Newspaper sorry for Tupac claim

P Diddy
Sean Combs refused to be interviewed for the article

The Los Angeles Times has apologised for claiming rap mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs was involved in a 1994 shooting of hip-hop star Tupac Shakur.

The apology follows a claim that the newspaper was conned by a prisoner who doctored the documents used.

"The bottom line is that the documents we relied on should not have been used," said editor Russ Stanton.

Combs has already called the report "completely untrue" and "a lie". Writer Chuck Philips said he "got duped".

Two years after the attack in New York, Shakur died in a separate shooting incident in Las Vegas.

'Prison fabrication'

The LA Times, which published the original story on its website, initially said its claims were based on FBI records, witness accounts and other unnamed sources.

Mr Stanton launched an investigation following claims published earlier this week on The Smoking Gun website.

"We apologise to both our readers and to those referenced in the documents and in the story," he said.

Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur was killed in 1996

The Smoking Gun claimed the documents used were fabricated by a prison inmate with a history of exaggerating his place on the rap music scene.

The newspaper said its story, published on 17 March, was based on FBI records, interviews with people at the scene of the shooting, and statements to the FBI by an informant. None of the sources were named.

Mr Philips, who wrote the story, said a former FBI agent examined the documents in question on his behalf and said they appeared to be legitimate.

But he said he now wished he had done more to investigate their authenticity.

'Piece of garbage'

Combs said earlier this week that the allegations were "beyond ridiculous".

"I am shocked that the Los Angeles Times would be so irresponsible as to publish such a baseless and completely untrue story," he added.

The 1994 shooting triggered the feud between east and west coast rappers that led to the killings of Shakur and Notorious BIG.

Combs refused to be interviewed for the story along with talent manager James Rosemond, who was also mentioned in the story.

He called the story a "libellous piece of garbage", adding: "In the past 14 years, I have not even been questioned by law enforcement with regard to the assault of Tupac Shakur, let alone brought up on charges.

"I simply ask for all rap fans and fans of Tupac to analyse this fiction for what it is."

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